Alice Mitchell, currently of Carthage, passed away Saturday, September 11, at age 96.
Alice was born to Mary & Harold Carson on June 23, 1925. She grew up in tiny Hamilton, KS with her 5 siblings and plenty of aunts and uncles and cousins. She and her Maynard started dating as juniors in high school and celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary this past June.
Maynard lives on, as do all 5 of their children: Dale of Holiday Island, AR; Myron (Patricia) of Advance, NC; Anita Flanigan (Tom) of Carthage; Lyle (Carla) of Columbia Falls, MT; and Gary (Carol) of Kansas City. She is also survived by siblings Lila Fry, Mary Ann Freeman, and George Carson, all currently living in Olathe, KS; and sister-in-law Darla Carson, of Ellinwood, KS.
Her 8 grandchildren loved her dearly and kept in touch, even over many miles: Tyler Mitchell and Parker Mitchell in Arkansas; Megan Mitchell Labrecque in Rhode Island; Sarah Mitchell Grace and Molly Mitchell Nelson in Montana; Elizabeth Flanigan Cook and Will Flanigan in Joplin; and Kathleen Flanigan Rhoads, currently in Zurich, Switzerland. She is also survived by nine great-grandchildren: Owen, Aida, Carston, Karver, Barrett, Lincoln, Finley, Eppley and Adler.
Two of her siblings died before her: Mona Short and Dennis Carson. She was also predeceased by in-laws Ed Fry, Bob Freeman, Warham “Apple” Short, and Mary Lou Carson, and a daughter-in-law, Jeannie Mitchell.
Alice was many things, most of all a faithful wife and loving mother. She and Maynard married within 3 weeks after his discharge from the Army after WWII. He went right to college on the GI Bill and two little boys joined them, the second one born just as Maynard graduated and headed into his teaching career. They lived in 3 communities in Kansas – Valley Center (near Wichita), Goodland, and Baxter Springs – and made many lasting friendships in those towns.
Alice was a musician. She started playing piano at an early age and taught private piano lessons in her home for many years. She took up pipe organ at PSU at the age of 55, and became something of a legend in the Pitt State music department. She was a member of American Guild of Organists in Joplin. She had a lovely soprano voice, and shared it through solos and ensemble singing throughout her life. She was captured on video this last July 4th, heartily singing patriotic songs.
Alice was a great cook, a baker, and a candy maker. Even though she was the picky eater of the family (never touching fruits or salads), she always strived to feed the family properly—even if she had to hold her nose to do it. She tried new recipes and adopted new cooking methods. She always baked “from scratch”, sometimes baking 4-5 pies at a time. During their teaching years, Alice hosted Christmas receptions for faculty, featuring many of her candy specialties. Family favorites included lemon meringue pie, peanut butter balls, caramels, and nougat.
Alice was a seamstress, making nearly all her clothes throughout her life. She followed Vogue magazine and patterns. She blessed newborn grandbabies with quilts, and cousins with matching outfits. She even sewed sport coats and prom dresses for her family. She always had a sewing room (or corner) in her home, and her costume box included tutus and Halloween fun that grandchildren loved to explore.
Alice loved to have fun. She dearly loved her family, immediate and extended. She attended every Carson family reunion, a tradition she helped cement about 30 years ago. She made sure her kids were familiar with concerts and libraries, as well as swimming, Little League, scouts, and dancing (ballroom for the sons—ballet and tap for her daughter).
She was a smalltown girl who headed for Washington, DC with her cousin to work for the U.S. Government to support the war effort. She was active in community life wherever she lived, serving on library boards and volunteering for local museums. She helped disabled children, riding a weekly bus which transported kids for residential learning; and also helping a young man severely disabled with cerebral palsy in his home.
She got to travel with Maynard to many national conventions during his career as a public school superintendent. After retirement, they enjoyed lots of travel — to visit family and friends — and just for fun on several cruises across the years.
She went many places in her life, but she was born, married, and will be buried in her beloved hometown, Hamilton. Graveside services are scheduled for October 8. Memorials may be directed to Pittsburg State University Music Department, through Ulmer Funeral Home, Carthage.
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